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‘Open City’: Adam Shankman sells 1960s gay rights drama to HBO

Director/producer/actor Adam Shankman attends the TrevorLIVE NY 2014 Kickoff Party presented by Kimpton Hotel & Restaurants on April 23, 2014 in New York City.
(Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for the Trevor Project)

HBO will be the home of another gay-themed series. According to a report by Deadline on Tuesday, a new series project from “Rock of Ages” director Adam Shankman and screenwriter David Kajganich is in the works. The project, titled “Open City,” will take place in pre-Stonewall New York City during the late 1960s.

Shankman will direct the drama series that will explore different characters from that era as they journey through cultural revolutions while facing political turmoil in what has become know as the beginning of the gay rights movement. The series will also expose the alliance between the Mafia and the LGBT community during that time with the opening of a West Village nightclub. Shankman and Kajganich will have one of the original owners of the nightclub, Ronnie Lorenzo to consult with, as they will attempt to bring the actual feel of the movement to a modern day viewing audience.

HBO picking up the script coincides with the success the premium network has had with its adaptation of Larry Kramer’s award-winning play “The Normal Heart.” The Ryan Murphy-produced movie made for cable is rumored to have a sequel in the works. HBO has also has also gained accolades for the San Francisco-based dramady “Looking.” During a time when gay characters were on the decline on television, HBO has really opened the door for gay-themed shows and movies.

“Open City” will be Kajganich’s first TV project. His most recent script was for the James Franco drama “True Story,” which is due out this year. Jennifer Gibgot will executive produce the series along side both Shankman and Kajganich as part of Offspring Entertainment. Adam Shankman’s other credits include “Madame Rose” and “Hairspray.” Shankman was also one of two producers for the 82nd Academy Awards in 2010. Casting for “Open City” should prove to be interesting when production for the series gets underway.

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